Ukraine Crisis with Russia
The White House has stated that Russia is executing soldiers who do not obey orders. Moscow has criticized peace talks supported by Ukraine in Malta.
Explore our comprehensive coverage of the Ukraine war.
- The White House has alleged that Russia is executing soldiers who disobey orders and issuing threats of death to entire units if they retreat from Ukrainian artillery fire. According to John Kirby, a spokesperson from the White House National Security Council, this development is seen as an indication of morale issues within the Russian forces, 20 months into their invasion.
- In a separate development, evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine has been presented to German federal prosecutors. This marks the beginning of a campaign that aims to utilize the principle of universal jurisdiction to hold war criminals accountable. The Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ), representing 16 survivors and the families of victims in three distinct war crimes cases, filed these cases on Thursday morning.
- Russia has criticized the peace talks backed by Ukraine scheduled to take place in Malta this weekend. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, warned that any discussions held without Russia’s participation would be counterproductive. She stated that the upcoming meeting appeared unrelated to the search for a peaceful resolution and criticized Malta for hosting what she referred to as a “blatantly anti-Russian event.”
- The United States has pledged an additional $150 million in security assistance for Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion, as confirmed by both U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Pentagon. This aid package makes use of previously authorized funding for Ukraine from past fiscal years, according to a statement from the Pentagon.
- In a related development, Russian lawmakers have approved a record increase in military spending to support Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine during the first reading of a bill on Thursday. This increase will see defense spending account for nearly one-third of all expenditures in 2024, with a 68% rise to 10.8 trillion rubles, equivalent to $115 billion.
- Ukraine has refuted reports from Ukrainian and British firms suggesting the suspension of the new Black Sea export corridor. Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov stated that the information about the cancellation or unexpected interruption of the temporary Ukrainian corridor for civilian vessel movement to and from the ports in the Big Odesa region is inaccurate.
- The Russian FSB security service reported that it had killed an individual while thwarting what it described as the latest in a series of Ukraine-inspired murder and sabotage plots against its soldiers. The FSB stated that it had “neutralized” a suspect during an attempted arrest after uncovering a plot to target an enlistment building in the city of Tver, located northwest of Moscow, according to the Tass news agency.
- Finland is cooperating with Beijing to investigate a Chinese ship believed to be connected to damage to an undersea gas pipeline, as announced by Prime Minister Petteri Orpo. Finnish police have recovered an anchor, which is suspected to have caused the breach in the Balticconnector pipeline to Estonia earlier this month.
- Ukraine has revealed plans to evacuate hundreds of children from communities near the northeastern city of Kupyansk as Russia intensifies its attacks in the area. Kyiv’s forces had retaken Kupyansk and the surrounding regions of the Kharkiv region in September 2022, but Moscow has since pushed back in an attempt to shift the frontline westward ahead of the winter.
- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, despite facing criticism from fellow EU leaders for his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, expressed his commitment to maintaining open communication with Moscow. He emphasized the importance of keeping communication channels open with the Russians as a part of a broader strategy for achieving peace.
- Slovakia’s new populist Prime Minister, Robert Fico, fulfilled one of his central campaign promises by announcing the end of military aid to Ukraine. He discussed this decision with the head of the European Commission during a meeting before the EU summit in Brussels.
- In a legal development, a Stockholm court acquitted a Russian-Swede accused of transferring Western technology to Russia’s military. The court ruled that while he had exported the materials, his actions did not constitute intelligence gathering. Prosecutors had sought a five-year sentence for Sergei Skvortsov, a 60-year-old dual national who has resided in Sweden since the 1990s and operated import-export businesses.
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